Part Two: Pros and cons on comp time bill

If there is one thing that employees say they want, time and time again, it's flexibility to handle life's every day challenges. That's why human resource executive Juanita Phillips, speaking on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management, testified in favor of the Working Families Flexibility Act 2013 (H.R. 1406).

On Wednesday, the bill went through mark-up in the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee. A House vote on the bill may come next week. I'll keep you updated. My Wednesday blog post laid out the position of the bill's opponents, expressed by the National Partnership for Women and Families. You can click here to read testimony from the organization's senior advisor, Judith Lichtman, opposing the bill.

The line up in favor of the bill is impressive. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, and many other large employer groups back this bill, introduced by Martha Roby, a Republican representative from Alabama. The bill allows employers to offer and employees to choose comp time instead of overtime pay, both at the rate of one and a half hours of pay or time for every hour over 40 worked. Employees can bank up to 160 hours a year, but if they change their minds, they can ask for cash and receive it within 30 days. Employers too can change their minds, paying cash instead of time after 80 hours banked.

Phillips works as a human resource executive for Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama. She is speaking for the 260,000 members of SHRM, which is the nation's largest professional group for human resource managers.

Her main point is that the federal government already has a compensatory system in place, so why shouldn't there be a similar program in the private sector?

Flexible work practices have made a difference in her company, which, she said, has a 94 percent retention rate.  Its 275 employees can be counted as full time, part time or provisional, which means they work full time some times and part time other times. The company accommodates job sharing, phased retirement, telecommuting and compressed work weeks. Full time workers can adjust their own schedules, as long as they get in 80 hours over two weeks.

"We believe all of these practices contribute to our ability to attract, hire, and retain the best talent," she said, which is why she backs the bill.

I don't personally know this company or Ms. Phillips, but if her company handles time the way she says it does, Intuitive Research deserves every accolade it gets. Employers: Take notes.

You can click here to read the committee's take on the bill. U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, chairs the committee.